Sears Holdings, whose presence permeated American life for generations, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early Monday in a last-ditch attempt to avoid entombment in the graveyard of once-great retailers that failed to adapt to the digital age. For Sears – which was the largest retailer in the nation before the rise of Walmart and, later, Amazon – bankruptcy marks the culmination of years of decline defined by store closures, sales declines, cost cuts and borrowing.
USA Today reported, the company, which also owns discount retailer Kmart, has fallen into disrepair amid a perilous retail landscape in which customers increasingly shop online or seek out more-appealing alternatives. Sears Holdings will close another 142 stores by about the end of the year, on top of a recently announced round of 46 store closures, as part of the bankruptcy. The company has 687 stores and about 68,000 employees.
Bankruptcy will allow Sears to “strengthen its balance sheet, enabling the Company to accelerate its strategic transformation, continue right sizing its operating model, and return to profitability,” Lampert said in a statement. “Our goal is to achieve a comprehensive restructuring as efficiently as possible, working closely with our creditors and other debtholders, and be better positioned to execute on our strategy and key priorities.”
The company’s board created an “Office of the CEO” to lead the company, including the chief financial officer and chief digital officer. A chief restructuring officer, M-III Partners managing partner Mohsin Y. Meghji, will help lead the bankruptcy and report to a newly created board committee. USAToday.com